Rider University’s Office of Career Development and Success reports that 90% of its undergraduate students are either “employed, in graduate school or volunteering” within a year after having graduated.
It unveiled a new plan promising to make those outcomes even stronger.
The Lawrenceville, N.J., university said any undergraduate students starting with the Class of 2022 who complete their degree paths will be guaranteed an entry-level job in their field within six months of graduating or be accepted into graduate or professional school under a new initiative called the Cranberry Investment.
There are a number of caveats that go with this type of Investment – as scores of other higher education institutions have noted in their own similar plans over the past decade. For example, at Rider, if students aren’t placed within six months, the university will offer career coaching, a potential six-month paid internship or as much as nine credits for further coursework provided they can maintain a 3.0 GPA.
So, is this just another gimmick to get students in the doors and remain at the school?
The buzzwords recruitment and retention have been a familiar refrain as colleges look to offset enrollment losses and stop-outs. Many have offered guarantees on everything from free tuition to assured graduation. With students scouring their options and looking for the best returns on investments during a pandemic – and sometimes big promises – uncertainty for institutions is high.
Rider, however, has been doing more over the past five years than simply talking up initiatives. Its CDS has been working hard to get students on relevant career paths, including launching a program last year called Lifting Barriers that aims to have 95% of students taking part in internships, research and other endeavors.
“Students who invest in a Rider education should feel confident that we are going to do everything within our power to make sure they reach their full potential,” says Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Rider’s president.
For comparison, the private Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, offers a six-month job guarantee to students – and notes that it is 100% guaranteed, assuring prospective enrollees that if they do sign on and complete a number of steps and graduate, they will get placed – or Thomas will pay their student loans for a year or enroll them in one of their master’s programs for free.
The standards students must meet are high: they must graduate with a 3.0 GPA, “demonstrate leadership”, perform community service and meet monthly with the professional and career development teams every month until they land a job.
Rider’s terms and conditions are not light either. For students returning in the fall of 2021 and those in Classes 2025 and beyond, some of the time frames differ but these are the standards that must be met either annually or through the course of their studies:
- Meet with career coaches twice per semester
- Have resumes approved by career coaches
- Abide by Rider’s Academic Integrity policy
- Maintain good academic standing
- Complete enriched career experience in any year
- Complete a career planning course of professional development workshop in any year
- Upon graduation, have a GPA better than 2.75 (or minimum requirement for major)
- Complete all curricular and co-curricular requirements
- Meet financial obligations
- Continue job search with Rider’s Career Development and Success team for six months
For those in the Class of 2025 and later, students must graduate with eight semesters, or 10 with a dual degree and must do a number of tasks during their freshman year.
Beyond the career coaching help, Rider University said it will effort to assist students in acquiring internships and co-op opportunities while in school.
“Rider has built a robust student support system that reflects our unwavering commitment to helping students in their quest to earn a rewarding education and lasting career success,” says Kim Barberich, executive director of Career Development and Success. “The Cranberry Investment is an important next step that ensures we will do that to the best of our abilities.”